Water wars causing big divide between city of Broussard and Lafayette
LAFAYETTE PARISH, LA (NBC33) — A water issue has been an ongoing controversy between the neighboring cities of Lafayette and Broussard. Lafayette officials say that someone had to have tampered with the water flow to allow Broussard to receive millions of gallons of water for free, but spokesperson for the city of Broussard, Amy Jones, says that is not the case.
"They haven't," she said. "That has been clear as day that it was a line that was not checked and when it finally was by the city of Lafayette is when they determined of how much they thought that the city of Broussard owed and the city of Broussard cut the check to Lafayette ahead of time."
That check worth $825,580 was paid by Broussard in December, followed by a lawsuit to recover at least $575,000 of that payment.
"The issue at hand is about the city of Broussard looking to have the overpayment for water returned to the city of Broussard. It's simply a fiscal matter. All parties that have looked at it have agreed that it has been too much," says Jones.
All parties, that is, except for Lafayette.
"We have had trouble getting information from Broussard to get an accurate number. We're now thinking it could be more than a million dollars," says Joey Durel, Dity-Parish President of Lafayette.
The President of Lafayette Utilities System, Terry Huval, says the city of Broussard has not abided by their contract with LUS.
"The contract says a certain level of sophistication needs to take place in the way that we interact with each other and the communication that we have..that is not taking place. It appears that they've breached the contract where they've violated a number of terms in the contract and so one of the issues we're looking at is to actually terminate that contract prematurely with the city of Broussard," says Terry Huval, President of LUS.
Mr. Huval is not the only one who wants to cut ties with Broussard.
"Ultimately, good neighbors help each other and good neighbors do good neighborly things. That has not been the case between Lafayette government and the city of Broussard government. They have chosen to not be good neighbors and we choose not to do business with them," says Mayor Durel.
Mayor Durel goes on to say how confused he is by the city of Broussard's actions.
"I will never understand how a city that has been so dependent on Lafayette, and who Lafayette has done so much for that government, that what we get in return are lawsuits," says Mayor Durel.
Spokesperson for Broussard explains why the lawsuit was necessary.
"Nobody wants things to be in litigation and yet at the same time when you're talking about large sums of taxpayer's dollars, there has to be the fiscal responsibility in making sure that if money is due back to the taxpayers of Broussard it goes back there," says Jones.
Jones also reitterates that the city of Broussard is an asset to Lafayette Parish.
"Their the second highest tax base, they have proven to be a center of growth for the parish," says Jones.
Currently the matter is deep into litigation with both sides on different pages.
"Broussard wants to continue to be that economic arm for the parish," Jones.
"This whole situation is one of the most ridiculous, one of the silliest things I've had to experience in the nine years that I've been here," says Mayor Durel.